How to keep your online store’s customers loyal?

Agnieszka Ślęzak
How to keep your online store’s customers loyal?

Acquiring a new customer is a seven times higher cost than retaining an existing one. Investing in building customer loyalty is definitely a game worth the candle and a contributing factor to the long-term success of your online store. This is not an easy task, especially since e-commerce companies — i.e. your competitors — have been on the rise during the coronavirus pandemic. What can you do to encourage customers to return to your store despite the omnipresent ads from other companies?

Contrary to what you might think, the relationship with an e-commerce store customer doesn’t end as soon as they click the “Accept and pay” button on the order summary page. You need to be taken care of long after they receive their package. Here are some tips on how to go about it.

Take care of your customer service

89 percent of buyers are willing to go to a competitor if the customer service at their chosen store is unsatisfactory. This just goes to show the importance of first impressions. Of course, something can always go wrong. Sometimes it’s extended lead time, at other times it’s a damaged package during delivery. Nevertheless, it is crucial to communicate with your buyers — be available for questions and respond to them, explain unwanted situations and solve related problems.

No promotions and tricked-out advertisements will ever be effective if the customer can’t get in touch with you in such situations and isn’t taken seriously when faced with problems. That’s why professional and seamless customer service is the cornerstone when it comes to online store customer loyalty. Keep an eye on your users’ experience — from ads to landing pages to the fulfillment page.

So make it clear that you’re available — visibly display your email address and phone number (along with the hours that your customer service department works) prominently on the site. You can also provide a chat option for users.

Take care of your customer service

Listen to your customers

Saying that collecting online reviews is a must-have these days is akin to saying nothing at all. Last year, the importance of product reviews in the buying process increased by as much as 50 percent. After all, social proof (or in our case: word-of-mouth) always works better than the most expensive ads.

However, simply collecting reviews is not enough. More importantly, you need to know how to use them. They can be a powerful tool for improving service quality, but also for buyer loyalty.

We all like to be taken seriously — so do the customers of your online store. Accept their comments and suggestions, address them publicly, and examine the pointed out issues. Not only will the author of the comment feel appreciated, but other users will see that you are worth trusting and decide to buy from you.

Remember — you can benefit from a negative review if you treat the customer professionally and quickly resolve the problem. Need proof? 57 percent of consumers consider the lack of a response while receiving offers for similar products as the top reason for switching to a competitor.

And above all, brag about your store’s excellent rating. Display star reviews in Google Ads, on your store page or product cards.

Present yourself as an expert

In times of increasing competition, you need to be more than “just” an online store for your customers. The truth is that many businesses sell the same products and often use the same images and descriptions, provided by manufacturers, on their sites.

So offer your users an added value and show that you are an expert in your field. Share your knowledge on your blog, create compilations or articles that could answer potential customers’ questions. You can also directly provide answers to product inquiries or include a solution to a problem that a buyer might be facing in the description. Another way is to include relevant information via infographics or videos on your product page.

You can also boost your credibility by inviting third-party experts to collaborate with you – for example, to create an article, arrange a joint webinar or Q&A session. By doing so, you send a signal to your customers that since you’re trusted by experts in a particular industry, they should too. In turn, this means that users who come to you for information will soon reach out for your products. Recipes, blogs and other guides are also a great way to grab a customer’s attention.

Personalized messages

A regular and repeat customer is one that feels you know their needs and preferences. That’s why personalizing your messages is such an important element in the process of customer loyalty.

Email marketing offers the widest range of possibilities. Addressing customers by name and encouraging them to participate in promotions is a standard now. In addition, for example, you can offer products compatible with or similar to the ones they have already purchased, inform them that the merchandise they were previously interested in is available again, or mention a special discount on a product they previously ordered.

By sending such e-mails, you show that you understand your customer, appreciate the fact that they choose your store and that you remember and care about them. Another way of using personalized communication to increase loyalty is special discounts, such as for birthdays or anniversaries of newsletter sign-ups. After all, everyone loves gifts!

Show yourself

A loyal customer is someone you have established a relationship with. This is easier to do when the buyer knows the face behind the business.

So show off your “true colors” on your online store. As brutal as it may sound, at first glance most e-commerce stores look alike. So you’ll stand out from the competition if you showcase your team — not only the members of the management team, but also the people preparing packages for shipment or from the customer service department. This will give your store’s visitors the feeling that, in case of problems, there are real people waiting on the other end who are eager to help them.

Also pay attention to the way you interact with potential customers. Don’t treat the “About Us” tab on your store page carelessly — don’t just use it to include the legally required information, but to showcase the history of your company, the values that guide it, or the inspiration that led you to open your store.

Reward your customers for their loyalty

If you need to further motivate users to return to your store, you might want to organize promotions for regular customers — such as special offers aimed at them exclusively, or free delivery.

The most obvious solution is to launch a loyalty program, where customers can collect points for purchases and exchange them for discounts on subsequent orders or additional products. Such a strategy can help not only increase the number of returning customers, but also increase the average value of the shopping cart.

Another way is to reward customers for recommending your services to their friends and offer a discount to both the referrer and the new customer. This makes buyers become ambassadors of your brand, so to speak.

Summary

The basis of the customer loyalty process is to establish a relationship with your customers and provide high-quality service at every stage of the buying process — even after the order has been received. Show that you know your buyer, value their trust and feedback, and highlight the features that set you apart from the competition. By doing so, you will have customers eagerly coming back to you!

Agnieszka Ślęzak
Content Manager Poland | Trusted Shops
A professional journalist, content marketing and SEO enthusiast with 7 years of experience in content creation, both B2C and B2B. In her work, she loves to explore topics related to e-commerce and online marketing. She helps e-commerce owners to grow their businesses and acquire more customers.